Crimson Lips - Avoid Poisonous Cosmetics
"Time was when only the tiny little ' rosebud " of a mouth was considered a feature of beauty, but nowadays one sees professed beauties with quite large mouths, which they do not mind enlarging into the ' camera smile," so as to show perfect rows of teeth.
This change in opinion may be brought about because of the pleasant things physiognomy has to say of the generous nature which goes with a large mouth. The owner is likely to be a lover of children and animals and in keen sympathy with all that is beautiful in life. She is " human " and lovable, and therefore appears to all who know her to have some claim to beauty.
The Mouth "like a Bow Unbent"
But, whatever the size, the shape of the beautiful mouth must be good - " like a bow unbent " - and it must have lips fairly full and of a good colour. The red lips must then be set like strawberries in cream - i.e., the skin round the mouth must be smooth and white. Expression must undoubtedly be good, if such a thing be possible, since a bad expression ultimately spoils the shape - a well-formed mouth governed by an unpleasant expression would not be beautiful. No lines, not even good ones like the laughter lines, are pretty once they become too marked, and hence the utility of massage at any and every age.
Most women make too much use of their mouths - speaking strictly from a beauty-culture point of view - and the muscles become overworked and old 'prematurely. The woman most conscious of any weakness about her mouth errs the most, for she contracts the habit of pursing up the lips, or biting them, or drawing them together continually in a vain effort to hide teeth not beyond criticism.
The first thing to be done, then, is to see to the teeth. Decayed teeth are the immediate cause of unpleasant breath, and being the reason for much indigestion, they thus bring about this undesirable state of affairs in two ways. A simple remedy for unpleasant breath is liquorice, a little piece being used after the teeth are cleaned
Liquorice has also a beneficial effect on the digestion. A mouth-wash of warm water, to which has been added a few drops of Condy's Fluid, will sweeten the breath for the time being, and, where there is indigestion, a charcoal biscuit is efficacious.
A nice home-made mouth-wash is as follows: Take a pint of sage-tea - made by pouring boiling water, and leaving it to infuse for half an hour, on two tablespoonfuls of sage leaves. To this add two ounces of glycerine, one ounce of tincture of lavender, and half an ounce of tincture of myrrh. Shake well before using.
For home-made pastilles try the following, if you do not like the usual spice ones sold for the purpose:
Mix two parts of powdered coffee with one part of vegetable charcoal and one part of powdered sugar. Flavour with vanilla, and make into pastilles with a sufficient quantity of mucilage of gum arabic.
The teeth attended to, there is now no feeling of necessity to contort the mouth. Massage the lines already formed, and learn to keep the mouth in repose, so as to give the muscles a chance of becoming firm again!
The hygienic care of the lips is simple. The delicate skin must be kept clean, especially at the corners; it must be protected from cold and wind, and it must not be irritated and left moist, as, for instance, it is apt to be by the wearing of a veil. A cheap veil causes more harm than a good silk mesh, because the moisture releases the cheap and nasty gum with which it is stiffened.
Chapped lips are extremely uncomfortable as well as unbecoming. A popular remedy is glycerine, and its use may be occasionally beneficial; but the regular use of glycerine coarsens the skin and dulls the colour of the lips. Here is a simple
Rose Lip Salve
White wax ......
Essence of almonds
a few drops
Melt and mix the almond-oil, spermaceti, and white wax over a slow fire; or, better still, in a jar which stands within a pan of hot water. Add the alkanct root, and stir till the whole is rose-tinted, and perfume with a few drops of essence of almonds. Strain. Another simple lip salve is composed of two ounces of fine honey, one ounce of white wax, and half an ounce of myrrh. Melt by gentle heat, and mix.
There is a fashion of painting the lips in a vivid hue that outrivals Nature. Exaggeration invariably kills beauty, and the perfection of art in painting a face or a picture is still to conceal art. For it is quite permissible, should the lips be pale, to use the expedient carmine; that is to say, if the cause of the pale lips, which is a low state of health, is being treated by diet and medicine.
If cosmetics are objected to, avoid biting the lips to bring up the colour, and try the simple little plan of sucking a cayenne lozenge for a few moments. A home-made lip salve is, however, harmless - a thing not true of many of those sold under fancy titles, and which contain the poisonous red lead. Try the following:
Pure white wax
Melt in the jar immersed in hot water, and add carmine to colour. For vermilion tint, use alkanet instead of carmine. Tie the chippings in muslin, and soak in the almond-oil for a few days before making the salve up.
For a simple lip salve intended just to preserve delicate lips and protect them out of doors, take two ounces of almond-oil, and mix it with an ounce of white wax. This is, of course, white. It may be scented with a few drops of oil of rose.
But all this care will be of no avail unless the owner can control her mouth whilst is speaking. To realise fully what this means, contrast a snapshot of some celebrity with face in repose with a snapshot of that same individual whilst speaking.
Many faces fail to pass the test, which can be made upon oneself by standing before a mirror and speaking in a natural way. Perhaps the lips are too firmly set, or they fall apart at pauses. Is the line of irritability marked from the corner of the mouth downward? A common habit is to elevate one corner of the mouth unduly, so that few people nearing the rubicon have mouths set perfectly straight in their faces.
Firm Lips - Firm Character
If this ugliness is already a thing accomplished, take care to consult a good dentist when getting new teeth. The right sort of man allows for the distortion, whilst an inartistic mechanic will give you a faultless row of teeth which shall make the mouth look worse than before. Next to the hands, which are difficult to make up in order to disguise age, comes the mouth. Close attention to detail whilst massaging, and a determination not to form ugly lines, can do much; but the keen observer notes mouth and hands when trying to detect flaws in a make-up. It will be well to close this article with an observation from Lavater, which will serve as a guide to the culture of beauty of mouth and lips
"Firm lips, firm character. Well-defined. large and proportionate lips, the middle line of which is equally serpentine on both sides, and easy to be drawn, though they may denote an inclination to pleasure, are never seen in a bad, mean, common countenance."